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Comment: Re:Expense (Score 1) 437

by dj245 (#47889501) Attached to: If Tesla Can Run Its Gigafactory On 100% Renewables, Why Can't Others?

Tesla is selling $100k cars, while other battery factories make batteries for $100 phones and $500 laptops. Maybe it is too expensive for them to set up a fully renewable process.

Or maybe they lease their facility. A lot of companies do, including mine. There's about a 0% chance of us installing renewable powerinfrastructure like that which would be difficult to take with us when we move out.

Comment: Re:Cultural Differences (Score 3, Informative) 110

What many in the U.S. don't realize is that what we call bribery is SOP in some countries. Not that it makes it right, or legal, but it may be the only way for a company to do business there. I've witnessed this first hand in a couple places, with local government officials who would just not process paperwork unless you "tip" them.

That's a "Facilitating payment" and is actually OK for US companies to pay. A facilitating payment is payment to make someone do something faster or more efficiently, but the person was obligated to do that thing anyway. Good examples are customs clearance, port expediting payments, etc. The official is obligated to release items from customs if all the paperwork is correct. He isn't obligated to do that in a timely fashion, however. The payment just makes his inevitable action happen faster.

When you pay for an action which may not have happened without payment (like a favorable decision) that is when it becomes bribery.

Comment: Re:Value of nationalized assets? (Score 1) 528

by dj245 (#47883943) Attached to: Cuba Calculates Cost of 54yr US Embargo At $1.1 Trillion

I wonder what the value of American-owned assets nationalized by Castro would be worth today had they never been nationalized. My guess is that it has to be at least Cuba's "cost" or worse.

It'd also be interesting to know the value of the lost productivity imposed by Cuba's communist economics.

There is more to life than worrying about "lost productivity". Capitalism is not the best system of government if you care about happiness, equality, and well-being of the people. It is superior in many ways, but in those areas, Capitalism falls pretty flat.

Comment: Re:$10,000 per camera (Score 3, Informative) 170

by dj245 (#47834757) Attached to: NYPD Starts Body Camera Pilot Program

If you, the reader, has any experience with office politics or politics you know the popular underhanded technique of supporting something while undermining it.

Overhead, corruption, and incompetence are too often used as an excuse; many times it IS simply an underhanded attack by the "supporters." When NYPD spends $60,000 while saying it's going to cost more for only 60 cameras there are people involved who WANT it to be as expensive as possible of a deterrent. A high profile test group like NYPD will get cited all over the nation. Given how badly it is needed and demanded by the public, the costs are going to have to be high to deter widespread common use. Despite how actually cheap it would be - I bet their flash lights cost more... I had a cheap pen camera from china that was in that price range; it didn't last long or store much video but that was 6 years ago.

This is also where greedy capitalism comes in because that is all about how much the market is willing to pay--- and they've got to make sure this is a niche market so it doesn't have to compete with the extremely cheap mainstream market.

Sure, the way public budgets are managed is they take all projected costs (on the high side) then divide them out in ways that makes things like this seem like it's $10,000 a camera -- and one can sometimes spot the traitors because they'll focus on such false estimates.

Now it could be this is a totally honest move by NYPD and their high costs are because they are preparing for a full scale deployment with this just being a testing group. I'm just too cynical to take things at face value... wonder if any reporters exist who can hang around enough to pick up on such things anymore.

Hint- Industrial type equipment designed for daily rough use is expensive. I have a Motorola Pro5150 radio on my desk here which apparently costs about $400 (finding an actual price on this thing isn't easy) depending on which model it is. For a radio. But it is built like a tank, designed very well, and looks a lot like what police departments use. A wearable camera built like this radio costing $1000 each might be expensive, but it wouldn't be absurdly expensive.

Comment: Re:a shame but... (Score 1) 246

by dj245 (#47834213) Attached to: Egypt's Oldest Pyramid Is Being Destroyed By Its Own Restoration Team

The pyramids being made by slave labour is something of a myth. There's not much evidence available for early pyramids, but there's plenty of evidence that later pyramids were made by skilled craftsmen and not slaves.

My business is steam turbines. Complicated machinery with very tight tolerances, requiring great skill to put together. We use 1 or 2 experienced turbine experts per shift and have a cadre of millwrights (gorillas) to do the dirty/boring/mindless/unskilled labor. There is no need for everyone on a job to be an expert.

Comment: Re:The biggest risk to the pyramids is Islam (Score 1) 246

by dj245 (#47834175) Attached to: Egypt's Oldest Pyramid Is Being Destroyed By Its Own Restoration Team

Actually, Christianity is the biggest/fastest growing religion in China. And as I've said before and I'll say it again. The last thing the Islamists (ISIS) want to piss off is the Chinese. The really really don't want to go there!

China has no love for followers of Jesus. The only way ISIS will piss off China is if they order weapons from China and don't leave positive feedback on Alibaba.

Comment: Re:Sad (Score 1) 165

by dj245 (#47833403) Attached to: Buenos Aires Issues a 'Netflix Tax' For All Digital Entertainment

I'm form Argentina and it saddens me that this post comments will fall among these categories:

  • Peple saying "don't cry for me XXX".
  • Argentines explaining that Argentina is the worst country, worse than the worst.
  • Uninformed right-wing people talking about Cuba, communism.

Even the summary is wrong! That 35% is not a tax, just a pre-payment of the income tax that you can recover.

All hope is lost.

We are all indoctrinated in certain things, and those beliefs hang onto people like a religion. The notion that "my" country is the best country in the world, and all other countries are inferior in every way, is a hard one to shake. I saw it clearly on my trip to North Korea- although some people there are just playing along, a lot of people there really believe that their nation is the best on earth. It was like looking in a funhouse mirror at the people who chant "USA USA USA". People have to keep inventing reasons to keep believing their indoctrinations. Any evidence supporting their pre-existing beliefs is held up as fact, and any evidence which doesn't agree with their preconceptions is tossed aside as propaganda, fiction, lies, etc. I have seen this with people all over the world. It sucks to be on the losing end of this kind of attitude however.

Comment: Re:Seriously? (Score 1) 145

by dj245 (#47833351) Attached to: FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Says Switching ISPs Is Too Hard
I've had a personal domain name for the last 10 years or so. The spam has got to be such a big problem that I am switching over to gmail, albeit slowly. I could probably fix it, but I was wasting too much time trying. It wasn't worth the hassle to me.

I haven't been giving out the personal domain address for some time now, I have forwarding set up, and the when I reply, the gmail address is used. The number of emails coming to my old address has dropped to the point where I could probably drop it. Go this route, when the number of emails coming to the old address drops to a certain point (say 1%) just let it go.

Comment: Re:Ban when you are done testing? (Score 1) 322

by dj245 (#47824023) Attached to: The Argument For a Hypersonic Missile Testing Ban

Hypersonic missiles are the only weapons that could hit an american supercarrier

Incorrect. There are plenty of ways to take out an aircraft carrier. The most obvious and least defensible way is to torpedo it from a submarine. Other ways clearly exist. You can overwhelm it with a mass attack using aircraft, conventional cruise missiles, torpedo boats, etc. Once a carrier and its very limited escort screen use up their antiaircraft and antimissile ammunition, it is a sitting duck. You can strew mines in front of it. You want to give it a severe nightmare? Just consider what you could do moored in its pathetically poorly defended home base or forward base.

Better keep them away from supercaviataing torpedoes, a carrier's true worst nightmare. Russia has had one since the late 70's. Iran has them too.

A supercavitating torpedo is a hail mary weapon or a "you fired first" weapon. Cavitation is noisy and is what anyone firing such a weapon would generally want to avoid. It also blinds the torpedo since there is air in front of it instead of water. So they have to be remotely controlled by wire.

Nothing screams "I'M RIGHT HERE!!! IT WAS ME WHO FIRED THAT TORPEDO!!!" like a supercavitating torpedo. It is little better than a kamikaze attack if used offensively.

Comment: Re:So what they need, then... (Score 1) 185

by dj245 (#47725267) Attached to: New Research Suggests Cancer May Be an Intrinsic Property of Cells

Brain transplant!

Would you be the same person if you were in the body of a woman? Consider the differences in hormones, the greatly decreased testosterone compared to a man's body would make a huge difference all by itself.

Would you then be the same person if you were in a different body of a same-sex person? Their hormones are different too, in more subtle ways but still different. It is the Ship of Theseus problem.

Comment: Re:speaking as a senior engineer (Score 1) 160

by dj245 (#47681141) Attached to: The Flight of Gifted Engineers From NASA

Finally, i cant stress this enough: you are an engineer, and the pace should be slow. part of that is in your software. ansys, nastran, and fluent jobs will run for weeks at a time, wiping your ass to make sure your design or part is solid and incapable of immolating a school under normal operational parameters. you can quicken the pace by specifying realistic resources to use before you submit to the simulation cluster, and optimizing your simulations instead of queueing them up, locking your screen, and going off to lunch. monitor your checkpoints for failures in convergence. use the latest software instead of demonizing it. run it multicore, and for god sake stop being retiscent and stubborn about new shit that can help you like simulation timing blocks. and another thing, close the application so your license is returned to the pool and can be used on other projects, most of which yours depends on. now get off my lawn.

It doesn't have to be. I work in energy - coal and natural gas power stations maintenance. When we open up a turbine or a boiler, from breaker open to breaker closed is somewhere between 32 and 45 days generally. The busy season is fall and spring. Typically I have worked on anywhere between 3 and 12 jobs in a season (spring or fall), depending on what my role was and what needed doing. You never know what you will find when you open the machine up either, so things can get exciting.

Comment: Re:Where do you get this garbage? (Score 1) 165

by dj245 (#47580743) Attached to: Was America's Top Rocketeer a Communist Spy? The FBI Thought So

Skylab was in very good condition and NASA wanted to use it in conjunction with the shuttle, which was scheduled to be operational before Skylab fell into the atmosphere. The Shuttle was to be used to re-boost it, but two things happened: [1] solar activity was higher than expected (which affects the upper-most part of the atmosphere and increased the atmospheric drag on Skylab) and [2] the shuttle ended-up being too far behind schedule. NASA, realizing that shuttles would not be ready in time, studied launching an unmanned "tug" to dock with and re-boost Skylab so it would still be there on orbit and operational by the time shuttles were ready, but congress in the late 70's was as stupid as today - Congress did not fund this cheap solution, so we ended-up dumping $100 Billion and ten years of construction time into building ISS to get a similar orbital capability (Skylab had 320 cubic meters pressurized volume, that's more than the US part of the ISS). The shuttle could have then flown additions to Skylab (which had a docking adapter for multiple visiting vehicles). An enhanced Skylab would have had no Russian "entanglements", and had its own lifesupport and navigation capabilities.

Skylab was FAR from "worn out" and the damage from the launch was quite managable. The astronauts who closed it out left it ready for re-manning. When Skylab re-entered the atmosphere it did so under remote control from the ground, with its systems fully functioning until they were destroyed by the reentry. READ THE DAMNED REPORTS, which consist of hundreds of paged of excellent details, before misinforming people.

Skylab was put into orbit in one launch. Using the shuttle to lift further components is silly- all it does is justify the shuttle. The shuttle is a Honda Fit compared to the 18-wheeler Saturn 5. Letting Skylab burn up may have been a "waste" but if you can launch more than 1/3 of the current ISS volume (currently at around 837 pressurized cubic meters) with 1 Saturn 5 rocket, an orbiting space station then becomes essentially disposable. Just launch another one.

Comment: Re:11% fuel efficiency improvement (Score 1) 138

by dj245 (#47534251) Attached to: Will Your Next Car Be Covered In Morphing Dimples?

If they can make this work at a reasonable cost the trucking industry is defiantly a place I’d expect to see it. After all fuel efficiency is one of the biggest factors in whether a trucking company makes money or not. I am not sure a dynamic system such as being described in the article makes that much sense for cars and trucks. Making some sort of prefabricated body panels that have some pattern permanent imprinted it in seems like it would be much cheaper and require less long term maintenance.

Dimples are a place for water to collect. Paint nowadays is pretty good, but any break in the paint on a dimpled car would be a big rust problem really quick. It would be a nightmare to repair after an accident. Even if you think the dimples look good, when the water evaporates it will leave water spots and look terrible.

Comment: Re:FUD filled.... (Score 1) 212

by dj245 (#47534143) Attached to: How a Solar Storm Two Years Ago Nearly Caused a Catastrophe On Earth

When I toured the Union Electric hydropower plant in Keokuk, Iowa back in the 1990s when they still let you into places like that (with a camera, no less) the guy showed me a hand-crank the size of a bicycle wheel that was originally designed to dead start the plant when it was self-powered.

Apparently spinning that generated just enough power to get one of the turbines generating electricity and that was enough power to boot strap the entire plant.

I've been in power stations all over the US, Mexico, Canada, and some other countries. There's nothing particularly sensitive or secret about a power generation station. Anybody asking nicely for a tour can generally be accommodated. The biggest worry a plant operator has is theft of copper.

If you are ever out in the middle of Utah, Intermountain Power Plant has the nicest visitor's center I have seen anywhere. They also have one of the most amazing offices I have ever seen. Small consolation for being in the middle of Utah I suppose.

Comment: Re:Silly argument (Score 1) 529

by dj245 (#47491875) Attached to: US Senator Blasts Microsoft's H-1B Push As It Lays 18,000 Off Workers

When you say H-1B salaries you mean the salaries that the person working gets paid with or the money Microsoft pays to some Indian intermediary company that actually pays the person doing the job much less?

Plus how much of the money Microsoft pays that Indian company gets back to the people at Microsoft doing the hiring as kickbacks?

Plus how much does Microsoft pay in an H-1B if they want to lay him off?


You can look up how much an H1b visa holder makes. The system isn't set up to look for a specific person, but with a small amount of intiution and some reasonable assumptions you can usually figure out which of your colleagues has which title in the system. If you find actual cases of fraud, report it. Let your H1B visa colleages know how much they should be making, and encourage them to demand that they be paid that wage. If companies actually had to pay those wages this whole business would stop pretty quick.

An age is called Dark not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it. -- James Michener, "Space"